Friday, May 31, 2013

Purple Perfumers

 Dark purple is not my favourite colour of petunias, but I really enjoy their spicy fragrance so I usually have some in a pot on the back deck so I smell them on the way by.

Heliotrope has a lovely sweet fragrance, like vanilla to my nose but I have read that some people find it smells like cherry pie.  Full sun, moist rich soil will keep it growing optimally, and giving you wonderful wafts  of perfume. Warm late afternoon sun is especially good for releasing the fragrance. It's not always available at the garden centres but it is fairly easy to start from seed in early spring.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Pretty Moth

A blonde in a pretty pink and yellow outfit.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Including Native Plants

 I'm not a very tidy gardener, and I tend to let enthusiastic plants have their spot in the garden even if I didn't plant them there.  Often, the effect ends up being quite attractive.  In this photo, Looking Glass brunnera is tucked in with wild blue cohosh and red trillium.

 Wild foamflower flourishes with a some good soil and provides a nice patch of groundcover.  It can handle being quite dry, but it does prefer shade in the summer.

 The large leaves and dramatic markings of the native Jack-in-the-pulpit can hold their own place in a garden with hosta and plain green brunnera.

A native yellow violet, that has finished blooming, fills in between a hosta and tiarella.
The native plants are usually pretty tough and less prone to insect damage. Even if they don't have showy flowers, the leaves are often attractive shapes that add interest to the garden.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hay There!

A  hay-dee-ho from my horse, Pepper.  He hopes you're enjoying cutting the grass as much as he does.  Don't you just love his whiskers?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gorgeous Green

 The trees are particularly lush this year.  Not sure why as last summer was dry, and, after an average winter, we had a dry April.  Anyway, it all looks very jungley and alive and refreshing.

 I transplanted these ferns from a damp part of our property and they are growing quite well on the north side of the house.  Ferns lighten up a shady spot with their feathery fronds.

I like the way these hosta leaves are pushing each other,so full of vim and vigour, as they hurry to grow with the good weather.
I always find green is an invigorating colour.  We used to drive to Maine in June, and going through Vermont (the green mountains) we were just saturated with green, green, and more green.  Felt great.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

New Wheels

My husband bought me this spiffy car (Hyundai Elantra) last week.  It is great on gas and is such an improvement in every way over the old car.  It even has heated seats - not something I would ask for but it came with the package and, actually on a chilly day, it's wonderful to have warm seats. I expect it will give me many happy driving miles for years to come.
The old car had definitely earned its keep and you know it's time to say goodbye when the dealer offers to exchange it for a trunk liner and two front floor liners.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Birdfeeder

 We have an apple tree in our backyard.  It blooms quite well but rarely makes many apples because it doesn't get enough sun and it lacks a pollinator tree nearby.  I think of it as my summer bird feeder as it always has a variety of bugs and caterpillars chewing away on its leaves, and the birds like to come and see what they can snack on.

 Usually the blossoms have quite a bit of pink on them but this year they are almost all white.  I suppose that has to do with the weather as I have noticed that other apple trees in the area have similarly white blossoms this spring.

I guess we have repurposed our tree - it is not a supplier of fruit, but a "destination" for the birds.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Two New Moths

 Spring doesn't just bring flowers, it brings insects, too.  I saw this little moth this morning and thought the pattern was so striking.  The moth is small, only about 1" at the widest part.  I like the way the sections of the wing have creases as though it was once all folded up. I think  you could make a neat sweater pattern based on this design.  I have no idea what it is and have been doing some searching online at and also (blog - -this blog also has some great bird pics.)  There are so many different moths, it's hard to search through them all.

This moth is a little bigger. The wings are like polished wood.  You can even see "tree rings" running horizontally.   I think I need to buy a proper reference moth book so that I can educate myself a bit more.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Spark

My husband just gave this book and it is a very good read. Of late there have been quite a few books written by people with autism or by their parents. I have read some of them and they all give interesting insight into the lives of autistic people.  This book I particularly like because it has so many valuable lessons for us to learn about relating to other people, not just children or autistic children.
 The book is written by the mom of a boy with high functioning autism.  He has delays in certain areas but is a true genius in his favourite fields, such as astrophysics and math.  His parents have always tried to keep his whole person in view, making sure that he has time to enjoy goofing around with his brothers, watching the stars at night or going fishing, but they also found ways to nurture his incredible interest and talent for science and math. They came to realize that he had to have access to people who shared his passion and knowledge for physics, and that regular school wasn't where he would find that so they  connected him with professors at Indiana U.
 I guess what I find so engaging about this book is the parents, especially the mom's , understanding that everyone is unique.  She runs a daycare and her ability to reach children by validating their interests and personality is remarkable.  Her philosophy is to encourage the children in the areas that they love and that other, weaker skills will often get stronger coincidentally along with the flourishing of their passions. We live in a society that seems to want to stuff everyone into a box, that discourages originality and feels very uncomfortable with people who don't fit in to a neat stereotype.
At school, it's "don't be too slow, but also don't be too smart",  "don't be too noisy, or rambunctious, or enthusiastic, or creative", "don't be too quiet, or shy, or introverted" , "stay with the class, don't work ahead, don't fall behind".  So much of the media is all about looking right , all about being popular, all about having the right stuff,  having lots of Facebook friends.  What about curiosity, and kindness and enjoying other people for who they are?  How draining it is to have to pretend to be someone you aren't.
The book is just recently published so it is readily available and libraries will hopefully be picking it up soon.  I really think it is a most refreshing, inspiring book.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bleeding Heart - So Victorian

 As you've probably guessed by my banner, I am a big fan of Bleeding Heart (dicentra spectabilis).  The flowers are so unusual, such a pretty pink and they bloom in spring when I so appreciate colour after the dull winter months.  The arching stems are so elegant and the leaves look almost tropical.
Bleeding heart grows best in rich soil under deciduous trees that allow sun in the spring and shade in the summer. If the soil stays slightly damp , the leaves will last for most of the summer, but if the soil dries out repeatedly the leaves will die back and the plant will go dormant until the following spring.

 A necklace of pink jewels.


 Plump cherries.

Musical notes of a lyrical song.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


 Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) is a plant native to Eastern North America. It blooms early in spring around the same time as crocuses. I really like the swish to the yellow flowers that hang down. They remind me of long skirts, maybe Hawaiian skirts, moving to dance music.

 Every petal has a bit of a twist to it as well as the whole flower curving to the side. 

 Merrybells is a very easy to grow, tough perennial that forms a slowly spreading clump.  After the flowers face, the leaves grow bigger forming a pleasant mound of  curving green .  The clumps can be divided spring or fall.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Blue Purple Pink - Multi-coloured flowers

 Plants are wonderful and full of surprises.  For instance, why do some plants have different coloured flowers?  The pulmonaria blooms, as far as I can tell, are different colours no matter how old the bloom is.  Makes for a very pretty display.

 This Virginia bluebell has very pink buds that turn very blue on opening,

 but right beside it is a plant that is all pinky purple.  The two plants were the same colour as each other last year. I suppose, as it is with hydrangeas, slight differences in the soil could account for the different colours.

 Forget-me-nots are traditionally blue but often grow sports that are white or pink.  Seed from a white sport will probably give you a blue plant though.  Quite intriguing. 

The forget-me-not buds are often pink and the flowers turn blue as they open, but the white flowers come from white buds.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Horsey Surprise

 My neighbour has been trying to breed a paint horse for several years with no real success until now.
A day or two ago, this little one was born to the chestnut mare, and what a beautiful foal it is.  For me, the black head would be a real plus as horses with white ears or noses usually suffer from sunburn on those spots. The white he (she) has on his face is just perfect.

 "Yes, I like to stay close to Mama."  Notice the whispy little whiskers under his bottom lip, and his amazing white tail with a black tip. I have never seen a tail like that before and I don't know if his tail will become one colour as he matures. Fun while it lasts, anyway.

 See his little tongue sticking out? What a cutie.  I love the fuzzy forelocks foals have when they are very young.

 A couple of neighbourhood dogs were enjoying frolicking in a ditch.  It was summery hot today so the cool water must have felt good.  The brown dog is sort of a canine Huck Finn, always into games and adventure, and leading his sidekick astray.  I hope the owners won't be too disappointed when the dogs come home wet, muddy, and likely stinky.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Daffodil Days

 Daffodils come in many different shapes, colours and sizes.  This one is advertised as a pink and white one, although to my mind it is more peach and white.  Depending on the weather, the center can be more yellow.

Miniature daffys are more manageable for a small garden and still come in a variety colours.  The Minnow variety in this pic. has two blooms on every stem.

But nothing beats the bright, happy yellow of the traditional daffodil.

 This white daffodil is playing host to a distinctively marked crab spider.

And this one with a darker center against lighter yellow petals, has a young bug of some kind visiting.
Daffodils will last for years but they will stop blooming properly is they get overcrowded.  Dividing them every 3-5 years keeps them happy.  A feeding of bulb fertilizer when replanting the bulbs will make them flower even better.  Most daffodils are scented, with the double frilly ones having excellent fragrance.

Friday, May 3, 2013

White Trilliums

 I had a wonderful time getting to know our new little granddaughter, and when I got home the spring flowers were blooming.  The native white trilliums are opening up, brightening up the woods.

 As the flowers open, the petals curl and curve in elegant shapes.